The Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago has been known as Boystown because of the large LGBTQ community that has lived in the neighborhood, as well as its concentration of gay bars, for years. The Northalsted Business Alliance will no longer use “Boystown” in its neighborhood marketing campaigns to “ensure all members of the LGBTQ community feel welcome. It will be called “NorthHalsted”.
The Northalsted Business Alliance announced last week it was eliminating the use of “Boystown” in its marketing campaigns to be more inclusive of all genders.
The business alliance will now use the North Halsted strip’s street name in its marketing, along with a new slogan touting the area as “Chicago’s Proudest Neighborhood.” Leaders of the business alliance said they are already making plans to replace the “Boystown” banners lining the strip.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
“Business leaders in Chicago’s largest LGBTQ neighborhood announced Wednesday the 23rd that they would stop marketing the area as Boystown, following complaints that the 30-year-old name excludes women and gender nonbinary people.The announcement follows an online survey by the Northalsted Business Alliance, answered by 7,900 people. Of those survey-takers, 58% favored keeping the Boystown moniker and 20% said they felt unwelcomed by the Boystown name, according to Northalsted Business Alliance spokesperson Jen Gordon.
“It definitely felt like we should be doing something about it,” said Gordon. “If (the name Boystown) was making even a small percentage of people feel uncomfortable, it’s not something we should be using to promote the neighborhood.”
“As social movements to protest police violence and systemic racism swept the USA this year, Chicago’s LGBTQ community began grappling with its own long histories of anti-Black racism and transphobia. Local queer activist Devlyn Camp launched a petition in July to push for a new neighborhood name with the results mentioned above. The change was made to “ensure all members of the LGBTQ community feel welcome in the business district,” the Northalsted Business Alliance said in its press release.
“As culture and language change and develop over time, we must listen to the community to support inclusivity, and this survey is a step towards gaining valuable insight”, said NBA President Ramesh Ariyanayakam at the time.
So from now on everybody feel welcome at NorthHalsted Chicago!!!
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